Climate Scientist Says Global Warming ‘Worsened’ Hurricane Harvey. Did It?

Image: @courtneylj_ via Twitter

Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann said Sunday that, while global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Harvey, it surely “worsened” the effects of the storm through higher sea levels and increased atmospheric moisture.

Mann’s explanation, however, goes against the prevailing evidence of global warming’s measured impacts on storms. Many climate scientists have been careful not to tie individual weather events to man-made warming.

“I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear people blaming Harvey on global warming,” climate scientist Judith Curry wrote in a recent blog post. “How unusual was Harvey? Well, it will definitely be in the record books for ending the 12-year drought of major hurricanes striking the U.S.”

“Anyone blaming Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” Curry wrote.

Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane over the weekend, causing massive flooding. Harvey quickly weakened to a tropical storm, but it still dumped more than 9 trillion gallons of water over southeastern Texas. Rescuers have evacuated thousands of people from flooded homes, and at least six people have died.

Federal, state and local authorities are working to get more people to safety and coordinate a disaster response to the catastrophic flooding. Disaster aid is pouring in from other states and charity groups, like the Red Cross, are out in force. Rains are expected to continue through Friday.

While Texans struggle to rebuild their lives, many in the media and science community are the debating the extent to which Harvey can be blamed on man-made global warming. Mann is one of the scientists that say storms, like Harvey, can be linked to a warming climate.

“There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding,” Mann wrote in a Facebook post-Sunday as Harvey stalled over eastern Texas, dumping trillions of gallons of water on major cities.

“Sea level rise attributable to climate change is more than half a foot over the past few decades,” Mann wrote. “That means that the storm surge was a half foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.”

Mann also claimed that higher sea surface temperatures increased atmospheric moisture content, enabling the storm to produce more rain.

“Temperatures in the area where Harvey intensified were 0.5-1C warmer than current-day average temperatures, which translates to 1-1.5C warmer than the ‘average’ temperatures a few decades ago,” Mann wrote. “That means 3-5% more moisture in the atmosphere.”

“That large amount of moisture meant the potential for much greater rainfalls and greater flooding,” Mann added. “The combination of coastal flooding and heavy rainfall is responsible for the devastating flooding that Houston is experiencing. So Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage, and a larger storm surge. Climate change worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey.”

“Although these storms occur naturally, the storm is apt to be more intense, maybe a bit bigger, longer-lasting, and with much heavier rainfalls [because of that ocean heat],” Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, told The Atlantic.

However, Mann and Trenberth may be overplaying their hands.

Scientists expect global warming to make storms more frequent and intense, but, so far, there’s been little to no evidence that’s actually happening. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted in their last major report found “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found in March 2017 that it’s “premature to conclude that human activities — and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming — have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.”

Read more at Daily Caller

Comments (12)

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    Look for weasel words like “almost certainly” .
    Dennis the Menace Mann “almost certainly” over- plays everything, like staying at the party til the cops show up.

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    You don’t have to look any further than the FACT that
    Mr. Mann cannot prove so much as an iota of what he is saying.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Micheal Mann is a total pinhead and a false scientist just like Bill Nye and David Suzuki its the nuts from the Green Nut Tree that yammer all about Global Warming the media reptile listen to

  • Avatar

    G

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    WOW! That’s real fast work!

    It’s amazing how quickly they can proclaim a solution to such an ultra-complex problem. Who needs validated theories and super computers to crunch the data when we have incredible “scientists” like this?

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Mann sounds like some other crack-pot scientists like Bill Nye David Suzuki and James lovelock

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Better to be a climate denier than a liar . I deny that humans are now in charge of setting the earths temperature or changing the climate with a CO2
    wand and Al Gore pixie dust .

  • Avatar

    jaypeeidiot

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    The article states: “Many climate scientists have been careful not to tie individual weather events to man-made warming.”
    How many do they name?
    Curry.
    How credible is Curry?
    Hahahahahahahahahaha

    • Avatar

      Sonnyhill

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      Too much absinthe in the Kool Aid, fruit bat.

    • Avatar

      Peter

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      Hi JP Idiot,

      You ask how credible Judith Curry is and then scoff……
      By this I take it that you support Michael Mann who “belongs in State Penn rather than Penn State” according to Dr Tim Ball from Canada.

      Both Judith Curry and Tim Ball, among many thousands of others provide actual prof to back their statements, whereas Michael Mann is now in Contempt of Court in British Colombia because he will not (read CANNOT) produce for the Court the data upon which he bases his stupid claims.

      This is the same Michael Mann who was at the centre of ClimateGate – where copies of his emails stating that they needed to delete the Maunder Minimum (Little Ice Age) and the Medieval Warm Period from the records to show that the warming up to the mid 1990’s was extreme, were released from the University of East Anglia in England.

      What I have observed with all Climate alarmists is that none of them are able to produce factual support for their Stupid claims (Al Gore (The Supreme Climate Fraud) especially – not 1 of his claims has come close to being true), only narrative. whereas the people blindly labelled “Climate Deniers” are all able to produce fact and example to support their viewpoint.

      The outfall from Mann’s Legal issues in British Colombia are far reaching as these claims of his are the basis for the IPCC claims and the extorionistic taxation by governments in support of Climate Change which is nothing to do with Reality but all about Global Control and Centralised taxation as a result

    • Avatar

      G

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      Welcome back comrade Drewski! I see you’ve donned yet another screen name to make yourself appear larger.

      Pick a name and just go with it. No need to wear a black hoodie and face mask here.

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Since some crack-pots want Climate Change Skeptics persicuted so when dose the great Enviromental Inqustion start when will they start burning skeptics at the stake?

  • Avatar

    M88

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    Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had
    to ask!

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